Guest Blog: Rob Bamforth - Principal Analyst, Business Communications, Quocirca Ltd
In the third of our series of blogs on video adoption, we look at how informality can be good. If someone is at all nervous or apprehensive about something, one thing that will make matters worse is if that same thing is made out to be a big deal to everyone else. This typifies a problem that many will experience from their use of video conferencing in the workplace.
First, everyone is reminded how expensive it was to buy. Next, they are told that facilities are scarce and so must be booked in advance - also they are told to ensure someone is on hand in case something goes wrong (leading most people to think that something will go wrong). Finally, it is made clear that senior management have priority if there is a double booking.
These are not good messages to give to potential users, especially when Quocirca research shows the reason most often given for video adoption not being as high as hoped for is ‘user discomfort’. If restrictive internal perceptions are combined with a slightly negative starting point, it is no wonder that confidence and therefore appetite to use video as a daily mode of communication, is diminished.
Organisations, having invested in video systems, should try to take a much more positive approach. First, they can stabilise the situation by quelling a few nerves. Quocirca’s research indicated that whilst there was not a strong appetite among users for more training, they did want more access to video and more support from senior management. Formal training might not be the answer, but more familiarity would help boost both awareness and confidence.
This could be achieved, without the pressure of involvement in a critical meeting adding to on-camera woes, by simple changes in language and operating procedures. The use of video systems does not need to be completely limited to, or oriented around, formal pre-planned conferences, but for any sort of remote conversation. So why not encourage informal usage for more trivial purposes to start hesitant employees off on the right track?
This requires some slack in booking systems to allow for ad hoc usage and a shift in perceptions as for many, video conjures up an image of something restricted to one or two conference rooms. With low cost systems, desktop and mobile access this should no longer be an issue. Some organisations have gone further and found that an even more informal approach - not booking, but just ‘jumping into’ video though simple systems integrated into regular desktops and mobile devices, is saving time at the beginning of meetings.
Rather than breaking off a work task early just to be sure there is sufficient time to get ready for a conference, and wasting several minutes of what might be productive time, employees start or join just like they would initiate or answer a phone call. This increased informality leads to increased overall adoption of video for all sorts of conversations - one company in the research saw a tripling in the number of calls made over video, after they removed the need to schedule calls.
At this stage, employee attitudes become very positive, as both they as well as the organisation start to feel the benefit of this informal flexibility. More use increases the overall return on investment for the organisation, and better use of time for the individual.
However, a final issue must be tackled. The experience has to be maintained at scale. This means networks, systems and support processes need to be able to cope well to avoid hindering the growing confidence, positive experiences and benefits felt from increasing numbers of ad hoc video conversations.
In case you missed the earlier blogs in this series, they are available here:
Positive behaviour and technology adoption